The key selling point of the DS416slim from Synology is right there in the title. The case of the NAS is just big enough to hold the drives, a small 6cm x 6cm fan, and the motherboard — and not much more. It’s about as neat as a four-bay NAS can get, and the drives slide right into the back of the NAS giving it a clean look up front.
In order to stay cool, quiet and compact, it uses a lowpower ARM processor to drive the NAS. It clocks in at just 1GHz, accompanied by only 512MB of memory. In terms of ports, there are just two USB ports — though it does feature twin Ethernet ports.
Not that you’re likely to get much use out of the twin LAN. The low-end processor struggled with the Synology Hybrid RAID (a version of RAID 5) and the write speed was well below average. It wasn’t terrible, and it had no trouble streaming media, but it couldn’t compete with the other NASes here.
It runs Synology Diskstation Manager, a powerful OS that it a contender for the best in the business now. Like QNAP and Asustor’s operating systems, it presents as a full virtual desktop, windows and tabs and all. Hundreds of first and third-party apps are available, and the suite of first-party tools for media sharing, backup and sync and remote access are first class. It even has a webbased office suite available.
Of course, given the light specifications, you couldn’t ask it to run too much. In fact, we probably wouldn’t ask it for much more than file services. But if that’s all you want, this is a low-cost, attractive little NAS that does the basics well.